Reviews To Avoid Scams And Fraud Of All Kinds
Looking for a bargain on the Internet? Have you ever come across an irresistible offer on one of the many online sites? An invitation to try a product almost free of charge, since you only have to pay the shipping costs?
Many sites offer free trials of their products, but are you aware of what’s behind this kind of offer?
Have you wondered how these merchants manage to turn a profit? And how does their business continue to flourish? It’s precisely this concept of the free trial that we’re dealing with in this article.
Let’s take a look at this phenomenon that’s proliferating on the web.
Let’s take the example of this invitation to a free trial contained in this image.
We’ve chosen it by chance to illustrate our point.
According to the product’s website, you’re entitled to a 1-month supply of 60 capsules at the price of 0.00€.
The only charge you’ll be asked to pay is for postage (5.94€). As a bonus, you’ll receive a guide for the modest sum of 0.44€.
So all in all, you’ll pay just €6.38 and walk away with a weight-loss product that covers a month’s treatment and a guide containing 8 monthly issues of safe remedies.
That’s what a free trial is all about.
Interesting, isn’t it?
To make it even more irresistible, proponents of this method fill their site with messages and banners urging you to click quickly to place your order as soon as possible.
Their aim: to stop you thinking too much!
Psychic pressure to get you to act, fast, very fast.
Messages like: “There are only 10 offers left today” (with a counter for extra persuasion); “Hurry up! Claim your no-obligation free trial today”; …
But let’s come back down to earth and ask ourselves a few questions: what does this manufacturer hope to gain by doing this?
Supposing several thousand Internet users all decide to place orders over a short period of time, how will this vendor be able to keep up with these transactions without going bankrupt? And how does he expect to make a profit?
Besides, we all know that the price we’re paying doesn’t even cover the cost of the product itself, so how does this manufacturer manage to keep his business going?
I’ll tell you right now.
The fraudster behind this offer is trying to obtain your credit card details in order to make direct debits from your account.
In other words, it’s a well-designed trap!
When you order a free trial, you certainly run the risk of paying dearly for it.
Hidden clauses usually include membership of a club, subscription, online service or periodic replenishment.
Some sites “impose” a clause written in small print or buried in the GTC (if the site has general terms and conditions of sale).
A clause inserted in such a way as to deceive your vigilance. Sometimes, the entire page of the GTS is written in illegible or hard-to-read characters to dissuade you from reading it.
But be aware that you are bound by these clauses once you have accepted the invitation to the free trial.
In short, the biggest risk you face is repeated direct debits from your bank account.
This applies even if you don’t use the products you’ve received, or those you’ll receive in the months to come.
The first thing to check before ordering a free trial is the General Terms and Conditions (GTC) page.
You need to read it carefully and scrutinize every clause and sentence.
If the site you’re on doesn’t have any terms and conditions, that’s all the more reason to avoid it.
Advertisements on social networks should be carefully checked, as they are a veritable breeding ground for scams. Never click on an online ad without first researching it.
If the site in question displays a T&C page (usually located at the bottom), then read it first and check for any mention of a subscription or permission to restock.
Don’t forget to check the returns policy and conditions too.
When you place your order, you’ll be enrolled in our auto-renewal program.
This program will allow you to try out the product and on the 18th day, you will be invoiced the amount of 69.95€.
Thereafter, you will receive our product and be billed €69.95 (+ shipping) every 30 days until you cancel your subscription.
You can cancel or modify your subscription at any time by calling customer service.
By clicking to place your order, you declare that you have read and understood the terms and conditions of this offer, and you understand that you will be responsible for payment of all invoiced charges that correspond to the products that have been shipped to you, and will be shipped to you in the future, if you do not notify customer service to stop your order.
Here’s what you’re missing if you don’t take the time to read the terms and conditions page.
Clearly, this is a move that reflects bad faith. But realistically speaking, from a legal point of view, you accepted this clause when you ordered your free trial.
So, still legally speaking, you’ll be obliged to pay for the packages you receive.
In the example we’ve just cited, it says that if you want to stop these repetitive deductions and endless product shipments, you need to contact customer service.
Nothing could be simpler, you might say, and the problem is solved.
Well, no, the problem hasn’t been solved. Why not?
Quite simply because this service is either unreachable (it rings but nobody answers), or you’ll have to deal with someone who speaks a language other than your own, and you’ll have a hard time communicating your problem to them.
So how do you get out of this vicious circle?
If you’ve fallen into the free trial trap and the damage is done, the only solution I can think of is to contact your banker to cancel your credit card.
If customer support turns a deaf ear, this is the only feasible option.
Of course, a lot of people ask us: “Am I safe? Is there no risk of legal action, for example?
Fortunately, the majority of sites that engage in this kind of fraud do not respect the law, which prevents them from taking legal action to claim their due.
In other words, they fail to comply with the legal requirements laid down by the relevant authorities.
For example, you won’t find the name of the company selling the product, its physical address or its Siret number, …..
I say fortunately, because otherwise you’ll have to pay everything you’ve been billed for to the penny.
On the other hand, you should know that the law defends your rights. Below are links to the legal texts governing this type of practice:
– Legifrance. Le service public de la diffusion du droit. Code la consommation. Misleading commercial practices. Article L121-1-1. (https://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/codes/article_lc/LEGIARTI000019293654/2022-10-31).
– Legifrance. Le service public de la diffusion du droit. Consumer Code. Interpretation and form of contracts. Article L133-2. (https://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/codes/article_lc/LEGIARTI000006292187/2022-10-31).
In my opinion, it’s best to avoid free trials for the following simple reason.
If a manufacturer or salesperson lies about his or her professional information and practices a maneuver designed to mislead you, how can you be sure of the composition mentioned on his or her product?
How can you be sure of the product’s efficacy and, above all, its safety?
It’s hard to swallow a pill from such a manufacturer without being plagued by doubts. Are you sure you want to bet your health on something like this?
If you still want to order a free trial, which you do at your own risk, there are safer ways.
These include virtual or debit cards. Find out more about these payment methods, and give them preference for this type of transaction.
In any case, you can be sure that your “official” card won’t be debited without your knowledge.
Apart from the risk of losing money, which can easily reach very substantial sums, the purpose of the free trial is in itself a risk not to be overlooked.
It may even be the biggest risk of all.
And, as mentioned above, if a seller takes the liberty of deceiving you as to the means of payment, how can you be sure that he isn’t selling you a product that has no effect?
Or worse, a product that could harm your health?